Friday’s schedule initially included six games, but weather (are they calling it a “Snowpocalypse” again or were they only allowed to trot that out once) in Washington. The re-scheduled date apparently will be announced sometime on Saturday.
Hopefully you didn’t set your rosters with Ducks/Capitals and forgot about it/were buried in snow/cut off from electricity and were thus stuck with guys who weren’t even playing. I imagine quite a few head-to-head matchups were affected by that, as I totally get why some people may not have had the chance or inclination to check in on Mother Nature’s game-time decision.
In other news, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ bad health luck even managed to put John Tortorella on the shelf. I can’t imagine the array of unkind words he had for Rene Bourque for breaking his ribs (Bourque better be careful, what with him being a borderline NHL’er at this point and all …).
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PANTHERS 4, BLACKHAWKS 0
-- Florida is all, “Yeah, now YOU get to follow up a big winning streak with at least a mild losing streak. See how YOU like it.”
And then Chicago’s all, “Elaborate gestures with hands to show off Stanley Cup rings.”
-- Aaron Ekblad didn't waste any time making an impact in his first game back for the Panthers, generating a goal on his only SOG while also managing a +2 rating in 20:32 TOI.
Gotta love the 10 goals in 43 games, although with a 9.9 shooting percentage, chances are he'll slow down. You know, unless he shoots more often.
-- The Panthers really bottled Chicago up for most of this game, generating a 23-15 SOG advantage in the first two periods while building that 4-0 lead.
-- Roberto Luongo ended his three-game losing streak, improving to 20-13-4 while nabbing his fourth shutout of the season. He now has 72 shutouts in his already-impressive career.
RED WINGS 3, SABRES 0
-- This one entered the third period tied 0-0, but it wasn't as if Detroit just turned it on in the final frame. The SOG total was lopsided (45-19) and while the Red Wings did truly pulverize the Sabres in the third (18-2 SOG, all three goals), it seemed like a pretty thorough beatdown overall.
I wonder if this will become the norm for a Buffalo team that, with all its improvements, still has a ways to go?
-- Dylan Larkin continues to be a difference-maker for Detroit, scoring the GWG on his 15th tally of the season, and adding an assist for good measure.
Plus/minus is a dopey stat when it comes to actually evaluating a player (especially for a bad minus, as he's almost always on a bad team or in a bad situation ... though he could just be bad, that's true), but it's pretty much standard in fantasy. So that +23 rating is SWEET, and pretty unexpected for a rookie.
-- Petr Mrazek enjoyed a relatively easy night (19 saves) for his third shutout of the season. Again, there's little sense denying who the man is in Detroit's net.
-- Poor Robin Lehner.
He fell to 0-3-0 despite stopping 42 out of 44 saves. One would think he'd get rewarded at some point if he keeps this (.934 save percentage) up.
RANGERS 4, HURRICANES 1
-- There was some thought that this game might get canceled because of the Snow-oh-no's (poorly working title), but it happened, and the Rangers were glad it did.
You know, maybe the Hurricanes were glad, too. They're better off losing, and losing a lot, while maybe keeping Bill Peters (still a funny name, IMO) around since he's getting them to develop strong possession numbers despite a very flawed roster.
-- For all the times that teams (and especially fans) suffer from a prospect's false start, there are also those moments when a talented player turns the corner.
Maybe that's the case for J.T. Miller, who was the 15th pick of the 2011 NHL Draft.
Miller now has four goals in as many games after racking up two tallies on Friday. He's only generated a high SOG total once (Jan. 19, when he got a goal on eight SOG), so there's some reason to believe that he'll cool down, but at least keep Miller on your radar.
-- Nice little streak for Ryan McDonagh, whose goal gives him a four-game point streak (1G, 3A).
-- It's often tough for me not to giggle at homer three stars of the game nods. I'm guessing winning 69 percent of his faceoffs really pushed the voter(s) Jordan Staal's way, as his performance (zero points, +1, zero SOG in 18:15 TOI) leaves plenty to be desired.
ISLANDERS 5, SENATORS 2
-- The Islanders pulled away in the third period, which began tied 2-2. Goals by Hamonic, Tavares and Kyle Okposo really blew that game open.
-- Again, you'd have to be a lazy pundit who doesn't even look at the scoresheet (or only looks enough to see the final score) to blame Erik Karlsson for Ottawa's struggles.
Even amid defeat, Karlsson gave the Senators a chance by scoring a goal and an assist. He now has a ridiculous 51 points in 48 games.
-- Jaroslav Halak may be heating up. He's now 2-0-1 in his past three games, allowing just four goals during that span.
AVALANCHE 2, BLUES 1 (SO)
-- You can probably point to Semyon Varlamov as the main reason the Avalanche are on a three-game winning streak, as he allowed just three goals in that time.
Still, credit Colorado to at least showing improvement; the Avs were only out-shot once during this three-game winning streak.
That could change in a drastic way during their three-game road trip that swings through Dallas (ouch ouch ouch), San Jose (ouch) and Los Angeles (ouch ouch).
(What do you think of the ouch scale? Needs some work? I agree.)
They actually follow that mini-trip with another game against the Blackhawks and another one against the Stars to begin February ... so the optimism may mysteriously plummet.
-- Nathan MacKinnon scored Colorado's goal, closing off a three-game pointless streak. He now has 39 points in 49 games, and plenty of room to climb at just 20 years old.
-- Brian Elliott played well enough to win a fourth game in a row, but fell via the shootout after stopping 40 out of 41 shots.